Marqise Lee was the weaker link of the 2014 second round wide receivers that the Jacksonville Jaguars drafted.
Considered the best receiver in collegiate football during his sophomore campaign at USC, Lee was a steal in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. There were few people smiling bigger than general manager Dave Caldwell when he landed Lee and fellow second rounder Allen Robinson out of Penn State.
Lee’s potential to break any catch into a big gain was the big draw and he’s had flashes of it during his first season in the NFL. The USC product just didn’t do it consistently.
Part of that was struggling with injury as the season began and another part of it was just pure inconsistency.
Pro Football Focus has Lee dropping six passes in 2014 (of 61 targets). While not the worst on the team (looking at you Cecil Shorts and Allen Hurns), he was just one behind his peers. He had a full five more dropped passes than fellow second rounder, Robinson.
Lee can’t make plays with his feet if he doesn’t have the ball in his hands.
So, why bring this up now right before the 2015 NFL Draft? Well, partly because Chris Wesseling at NFL.com just called him a “second fiddle” receiver. Also, because the Jaguars are continuing to be attached more and more to wide receiver Amari Cooper, the stand out wide receiver from Alabama who looks to be the first or second wide receiver taken in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Lee is projected to fulfill the number two role within the Jaguars receiving corps. I think he just needs time to grow into that role. Though the Jaguars wouldn’t be considering other options if Lee had shown that he can live up to his draft hype and position in 2014.
The fact of the matter is that Lee was brought in to be an explosive and reliable weapon for new quarterback Blake Bortles. In 2014 he failed to show that he could be reliable and his explosiveness was not flashed on a regular basis. That is his job and he needs to improve on it if he hopes to be a regular part of the Jaguars offense in 2015 and beyond.
I firmly believe that he can do that. He can become more consistent and he can break more big plays going forward.
But Marqise Lee needs to improve, otherwise Blake Bortles and the Jaguars offense may leave him behind.
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